A 'Pick-Six' for America

Few things in Wisconsin excite the residents as much as a "Pick-Six" during a Packers game.  (In fairness, a 10-point buck is equally exciting in the Dairy State.)  In football, a Pick-Six is a game-changer.  It is a quick fourteen-point scoring swing.  The opposing team is driving in for the score, a pass is intercepted, and the Green Bay Packers take the rock "to the house."

In society, a productive, self-sustaining man or woman is a societal "Pick-Six" and should be equally celebrated.  As an example, maybe his benefit package is $60,000.  By definition, in the free market, he is assuredly providing a service of value.  No one separates from $60,000 for nothing.  If he were sustained by government programs for heat, health care, rent, food, and financial aid, the cost might exceed $40,000, to say nothing of the of the bureaucratic costs to administer the programs.  That is a $100,000 annual swing for one family.  If you are still not impressed, multiply that by a 30-year career versus a lifelong cycle of dependency, and it is a 3-million-dollar swing.  Multiply that by the 5 million new jobs created in the past three years (OK, take half the 5 million, because the great recession still created some jobs), and the swing is roughly 7.5 trillion dollars.

Yes, there are assumptions anyone and everyone can quibble with, but rest assured that a country with a 3% unemployment rate is a lot less expensive to run than a country with an 8–18% unemployment rate (Greece: 18% unemployment, Spain: 13.8%: Italy: 9.5%, France: 8.5%).  An earlier retirement age might, moreover, under-represent the percentage unemployed in these countries.

The net tax collected from full employment is a big number.  Working people not only provide goods and services for their fellow citizens, but generate revenue that can support meaningful social programs.  Able-bodied people sitting on the sidelines, either by choice or lack of opportunity, drain societal capital.  Moreover, an employed citizen is contributing to the soon to be broke Social Security and Medicare programs, lengthening the trajectory of these.  These programs support our citizens who not only have paid into the system (thus are entitled), but are also the most vulnerable.  The elderly demographic would have the greatest difficulty re-entering the work force if financial need pressed.

As a society, we should, and do, struggle to provide a life of dignity to those who truly cannot work.  I do not, however, believe that our constitutional freedoms can be preserved when the government, through its policies, taxation, and burdensome regulations, effects a society of relatively high unemployment.  Moreover, should the government compel us to support anyone and everyone who chooses not to participate in the workforce?  That is a large beast to feed, indeed.  If an able-bodied citizen wants something of value from society, is it not reasonable for him to contribute something back to society?  What is the definition of greed anyway?

Trump is definitely on the right track, creating through good policy the opportunity for full employment.  Growing the nation's income (GDP) is a way to pare away at debt.  Of course, we need to cut the "credit card" spending.  This is not so difficult.  The nation's finances are just like personal — on a grand scale, but...comprehensible.

Image: Mike Morbeck via Flickr.

Few things in Wisconsin excite the residents as much as a "Pick-Six" during a Packers game.  (In fairness, a 10-point buck is equally exciting in the Dairy State.)  In football, a Pick-Six is a game-changer.  It is a quick fourteen-point scoring swing.  The opposing team is driving in for the score, a pass is intercepted, and the Green Bay Packers take the rock "to the house."

In society, a productive, self-sustaining man or woman is a societal "Pick-Six" and should be equally celebrated.  As an example, maybe his benefit package is $60,000.  By definition, in the free market, he is assuredly providing a service of value.  No one separates from $60,000 for nothing.  If he were sustained by government programs for heat, health care, rent, food, and financial aid, the cost might exceed $40,000, to say nothing of the of the bureaucratic costs to administer the programs.  That is a $100,000 annual swing for one family.  If you are still not impressed, multiply that by a 30-year career versus a lifelong cycle of dependency, and it is a 3-million-dollar swing.  Multiply that by the 5 million new jobs created in the past three years (OK, take half the 5 million, because the great recession still created some jobs), and the swing is roughly 7.5 trillion dollars.

Yes, there are assumptions anyone and everyone can quibble with, but rest assured that a country with a 3% unemployment rate is a lot less expensive to run than a country with an 8–18% unemployment rate (Greece: 18% unemployment, Spain: 13.8%: Italy: 9.5%, France: 8.5%).  An earlier retirement age might, moreover, under-represent the percentage unemployed in these countries.

The net tax collected from full employment is a big number.  Working people not only provide goods and services for their fellow citizens, but generate revenue that can support meaningful social programs.  Able-bodied people sitting on the sidelines, either by choice or lack of opportunity, drain societal capital.  Moreover, an employed citizen is contributing to the soon to be broke Social Security and Medicare programs, lengthening the trajectory of these.  These programs support our citizens who not only have paid into the system (thus are entitled), but are also the most vulnerable.  The elderly demographic would have the greatest difficulty re-entering the work force if financial need pressed.

As a society, we should, and do, struggle to provide a life of dignity to those who truly cannot work.  I do not, however, believe that our constitutional freedoms can be preserved when the government, through its policies, taxation, and burdensome regulations, effects a society of relatively high unemployment.  Moreover, should the government compel us to support anyone and everyone who chooses not to participate in the workforce?  That is a large beast to feed, indeed.  If an able-bodied citizen wants something of value from society, is it not reasonable for him to contribute something back to society?  What is the definition of greed anyway?

Trump is definitely on the right track, creating through good policy the opportunity for full employment.  Growing the nation's income (GDP) is a way to pare away at debt.  Of course, we need to cut the "credit card" spending.  This is not so difficult.  The nation's finances are just like personal — on a grand scale, but...comprehensible.

Image: Mike Morbeck via Flickr.